Weight Loss (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Introduction to weight loss
- How do you lose weight?
- How fast should you expect to lose weight?
- The no-diet approach to weight control
- An example of a successful no-diet weight loss program
- What about special diet plans (fad diets and popular diets)?
- When should weight-loss medications or surgery be used?
- Why is weight loss important?
- 7 tips for successful weight loss
- Belly (Abdominal) Fat FAQs
What about special diet plans (fad diets and popular diets)?
Many people prefer to have a set of rules to follow when dieting. Others may crave the emotional support from attending counseling sessions or meetings. Diet products, books, and services have become a billion-dollar industry, so there are obviously many people looking for help with weight control. Before you jump on the latest diet bandwagon, remember that organized diet plans and programs can only result in weight loss if you burn more calories than you consume. No dietary supplements, exercise devices, combinations of foods, or specific patterns of eating will change this fact.
Some examples of popular diet plans include the Atkins diet, The South Beach Diet, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Body for Life, Dr. Andrew Weil's diet plan, and the Ornish diet. All of these diets have their proponents, and all of them have been successful for some people. Because eating habits and preferences vary widely among individuals, before you decide on a diet plan, ask yourself if the plan sounds realistic to you. If the plan involves rigorous measuring of portions and calorie counting, are you up to the task? If you're forbidden to eat certain foods, will you develop cravings for them? Do you feel that you will feel comfortable adhering to the diet guidelines? Will the diet's requirements fit easily into your daily schedule? Finally, consider that once you've lost the weight, you may regain the weight if you return to your previous eating habits, so any weight-loss plan should be something you can live with for a long time.
Remember that the most successful weight loss comes from dietary changes and healthy food choices that will stay with you over time, not from diets that leave you feeling deprived or result in binge-eating episodes.
When should weight-loss medications or surgery be used?
Although medical treatments (for example orlistat [Alli, Xenical]) are available, they should only be used by people who have health risks related to obesity. Doctors usually consider medications to be appropriate in patients with a BMI greater than 30 or in those with a BMI of greater than 27 who have other medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high blood cholesterol) that put them at risk for developing heart disease. It is not recommend that medications be used for cosmetic weight loss or to lose small amounts of weight.
Weight-loss surgery is also available for people with severe obesity whose attempts to lose weight through other methods have failed. Most experts agree that bariatric surgery, or surgery to promote weight loss, should only be used for the morbidly obese (those who have a BMI greater than 40) or those with a BMI of 35 to 40 with obesity-related health problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or severe sleep apnea.
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